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THE government has denied that its deportation flight to Jamaica on Wednesday is discriminatory.
The Home Office is pushing ahead with the flight, which could see up to 50 men deported — including the fathers of young children — despite mounting calls for its cancellation.
Ministers claim that all those due to be on the flight have been convicted of serious crimes, including rape and murder.
In a Commons debate today, Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy said that the Home Office was “notorious” for “bundling people out of the country without due process.”
Meanwhile. pressure mounted on the government to cancel the flight, with 70 MPs, including Labour’s Clive Lewis, Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler and Ian Lavery, demanding that it be halted and saying that it shows the government has “failed to learn any lessons” from the Windrush scandal.
“Deportations epitomise the government’s ‘hostile environment’ agenda,” they wrote in a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel. “Not only is this agenda unjust, but also the Equality and Human Rights Commission has now found that the Home Office broke the law with its series of hostile environment policies and inhumane treatment of the Windrush generation.
“We urge you to cancel this deportation flight and take a step in the right direction towards ending the hostile environment.”
In the Commons, Home Office Minister Chris Philp insisted that the flight had nothing to do with the Windrush scandal, claiming that the comparison was the result of “extensive lobbying” by campaigners.
The minister repeated that those on board were all violent offenders and posed a danger to the public.
However, campaigners have highlighted cases of people scheduled to be on the flight having lived freely in the community for years after serving their sentences, prompting questions about their risk to the public.
Lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie told the Morning Star that one of her clients, who the Home Office wants to deport on Wednesday, had been released from prison 11 years ago.
“He was in the UK since he was a child. Since he came out, he got married, had two children and was coaching a local football club as a way of giving back,” she said.
Campaigners are understood to have launched a judicial review in a bid to halt the deportations.
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